Tag Archives: Eastern Europe

A Walk through Ukrainian Streets

These photo’s are from a walk taken on the Right Bank of Kiev. The oldest parts of the city were built on top of the hill, with some gorgeous buildings. In Kiev, I can confidently say that the majority of the 5 million or so residents live in buildings that look vastly different from these beauties. It seems (from my non native perspective) that the gorgeous architecture was reserved for business and government buildings. The majority of buildings that “regular folks” live in are described as ugly by residents and I wouldn’t argue with that description. They are usually buildings that look as if they are badly in need or some external love (can’t really judge the internal trappings). One important detail is that since the end of the Soviet Era, living in these uglier buildings has become more class based; as real estate moguls have erected glittering residential buildings, they are only available to those with significant resources.

This building (above) is of the Kiev Opera House it is so beautiful and it’s opulence gives credit to Kiev’s historic contributions and respect of the arts. The opera House is also close to many great restaurants, making date night easy for those who don’t have a car in the city. Another beautiful Opera House is in the city Lviv/Lvov, but I couldn’t get a quality photo of it.

The above and below photos are of the spires of historic buildings, Orthodox Catholic churches that were built long before the Soviet Era. During Christmas time I stepped into a religious service, and I was blown away by the beauty and largely female audience.One of my favorite parts of my time in Ukraine was that if you are in Kiev during a religious holiday, you can open your window to hear a choir singing in many parts of the city.

This is a picture (above) of Saint Michael’s Cathedral. It’s history goes back to the 11th century, but is still accessible to the public. Do you think that America has cathedral’s that compare visually to the one’s in Kiev? To be on the Right Bank of Kiev, is to hear tires going over the brick roads that help to keep the historic feel of the city. The brick roads can be seen in most of the photos in this post.

Make sure you come back next week because I am going to be doing a two part post, on one of the best public art installments I have seen!

Where to have coffee in Kiev

Happy Tuesday Everyone! Ukraine tends to be a country that has tea time and a tea aisles that resemble a shrine colored with all that nature will allowed to be steeped in water. Me, being an American with coffee running in my veins, had to stifle my panic after finding there is not a very high quality coffee scene in the Ukrainian cities I have been too.

The Golden Ducat at Arsenalna station.

There is a place I was introduced to, eventually becoming a regular, called the Golden Ducat (translated to English). It is a relatively small franchise, I was first there in January while spending Christmas in a beautiful city called Lviv or Lvov. The shop there has mirrors on the ceiling and is decorated with rich, dark wood. It is a little piece of heaven in an enchanting city.

The inside of the Arsenalna Golden Ducat.

In Kiev, there are two Golden Ducats, one is near the Arsenalna station on the tube, (pictured above). They have a parrot there with an opinion about everything. The wall near the parrot cage has hundreds of coins stuck in the crevices of the wall if you look closely. The second coffee shop is my favorite one, off of Kreschatk Station on the tube (where the main square of the city is). You exit in the opposite direction of the main square and go up two sets of huge escalators and turn right. It’s about two or three blocks directly down the street. Truth be told, the second Golden Ducat is easily walking distance from Arsenalna station as well.

The Kreschatk Golden Ducat.

Why is Golden Ducat worth coping with the potential tourists that will be milling about? First of all, it is arguably the most famous coffee shop in Ukraine for a reason. They boast no artificial ingredients and care deeply about the quality of their chocolate. Second of all, they have a friendly staff, who will smile and remember your face. Third, the environment is both romantic (candles!) and laid back enough where you can come by yourself and not be made aware of it by everyone around you. All of the shops share a narrow, dark staricase and very solid wooden furniture. They are popular with the international crowd, don’t worry they have English menu’s. Personally, I would recommend their frappe. It is a delicious mix of milk, chocolate, ice cream and coffee.

The interior looks almost medieval.

There are tons of other coffee shops in Ukraine, but none have the homey, original feel of Golden Ducat. The some of the other coffeeshops feel strangely like Starbucks or at least taste like corporate interest. On a plus side, some of my less favorite one’s are open 24 hours. If you have visited Ukraine and had a great latte, feel free in chime in and leave a recommendation!

**A note to readers. I am not from Ukraine, and have absolutely no language skills, so I am going to step out on a limb and openly admit that I may have misspelled some items. When possible I use Google to check for accuracy, but for instance, you will notice no link to the Golden Ducat website, that is because I couldn’t find one. Please bear with me and feel free to share any information that may be helpful to others! Good luck on your search for that perfect cup of Joe!